Dodging magic bullets: The evolution of bacterial antibiotic resistance


Antibiotic-resistant bacteria currently represent one of the main public health problems and recent predictions indicate that they will soon become the world’s leading cause of death. The ill-fated journey from the introduction of antibiotics into clinical practice to the current threat of a post-antibiotic era has run its course in just a few decades. Thus, the evolution of antibiotic resistance is probably the most spectacular example of evolution of a biological system innovation that we have had the opportunity to observe in real time. This text discusses some of the evolutionary and molecular keys that have allowed bacteria to go down this path.


evolutionary innovation; antibiotic resistance; bacteria; plasmids; horizontal gene transfer

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